I wrote these tips years ago, before my twins were born, but they are still near and dear to my heart. 10 years + into motherhood and I still read these tips and smile.
10 Parenting Tips I Have Learned in My First 3 Years of Motherhood
I want to start by saying I am be no means the perfect mom. We all make mistakes. These are just some things I have learned throughout the past few years, either from my own experiences or other moms. Learning from each other is what life is all about. Helping and loving each other is what we all should be doing more and more often.
1. You can never love your children too much. This piece of advice came from my mom. She told me this the day Sophia was born. This helps me in many ways throughout my day. This helps me to take my time when reacting to my girls. Sometimes, they just need a hug and a kiss.
Those who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving ways.
2. Let your children have a “moment” or a tantrum. We call them moments because I felt tantrums sounded so negative and there is nothing wrong with our children needing a few minutes to be upset. I simply make sure they are in a safe place and let them have a moment or two. I ignore these moments. I stay calm and let them kick and scream. Once, they learn you aren’t going to react their “moments” will happen less often. I always let my girls know whenever they are ready I am here for a hug. Just the other day Isabella was kicking and screaming on the floor of the playroom because I wouldn’t let her do something and Sophia looks at me and says, “Mom, she just needs a moment”. Don’t we all, don’t we all!
3. Take a moment for yourself. Sometimes, when one or both of my girls are doing something that displeases me I need to step back and take a minute before I react. I like to take a breath and count to 10. I know if I react out of anger my message is not going to get received in the same way as when I act out of love. I always try to make sure that when I am disciplining there is a lesson being learned. I never want to discipline out of anger. Trust me, sometimes I make this mistake and then I hate myself for it. I always apologize when I make a mistake.
4. Use timeouts sparingly. I first want to say every child is different and what works for one may not work for another. I know everyone has their own opinions about whether to use timeouts and how to use them. For us timeouts work best us as a last resort, when we feel no other form of discipline would work. I prefer to take things away than give a timeout. With the ages of my girls I try to make the conscience go with the action. I feel my girls learn better that way. Now, I have to say Steve likes timeouts a lot more then I do. If we do use timeouts we always make sure to talk to our girls about what happened and what could have been done differently next time. We try to let the girls do the talking. We want them to learn to problem solve. I feel timeouts should be a learning experience. I don’t like to just sit my girls down and never talk it through.
5. Sometimes everyone just needs to take a breath. When either one of my girls are in the heat of the moment I simply tell them to breathe. Since, Sophia is 3 1/2 she really gets this and she will pause from her yelling, take a breathe, and start over. I use this one a lot when I don’t like their tone. I really try to teach my girls how to calm themselves down. I want my children to be able to control their tempers, while also knowing it’s okay to disagree.
6. Listen to your heart. This is another piece of advice that came from my mom. She always told me no matter what I did in life to listen to my heart. Now that I am a mom it means even more to me. This helps me get through a lot of difficult parenting situations. We all know being a parent is the most difficult job. We also know that our children mean more to us then anything else in the world.
7. Take time and listen to your children. I really try and do this all day, everyday. Our children can teach us so much about life, love, and happiness. I have taught my girls that no matter what I always have time for them. They know there is always time for hugs and kisses.
8. Enjoy being with your children and let them know that you love their company. Try to choose activities that you and them both like to do. This really helps build a relationship and over time this teaches your child(ten) that you enjoy being with them.
9. Be silly. This is something we do a lot in our house. We are three pretty silly girls. This one goes really well with number 8. Kids love to be silly and they love to laugh. They also love to see their parents act silly. My girls think it’s hilarious. The girls and I are always dancing, singing, and just being goofy. We love to giggle. Just writing this one makes me smile, I simply began thinking about all of our happy moments together. These are what they will remember forever.
10. Choose happiness. Our children know if we are happy or not. Our children feed off our temperament. They can feel our mood. Now, I am not saying our children can never see us sad or upset, it is good for them to see all of our emotions. I am simply saying to try to choose happiness whenever possible. I am a huge believer in we make our own happiness. We can choose to be happy and our children are really good at knowing how we are feeling. Finding the good in every situation is something we talk about a lot.
11. Let go of perfection. I have learned the best thing we can do as parents is to let go of perfection for our lives and our children. There is really no such thing and it can make for a really difficult life. I will tell you before I had children I always said my children are never going to be dirty, they are always going to look perfect and my house was always going to be clean. Ha! Who was I kidding. That is a very difficult way to live and really we can’t put that kind of pressure on our poor children or ourselves. My mom always laughs when Sophia leaves the house with bedhead and Isabella has a messy shirt and my house has toys everywhere. She remembers when I used to say my kids will never be dirty. Haha! Hey, that’s life! Remember to enjoy being a mom. Enjoy your kids. Slow down and kiss them, hug them, love them.
I have also learned that no two children are alike and what works for one child may not work for another. From my experiences the best thing we as parents can do is live and learn. We are all going to make mistakes, but as long as we learn from them we are doing a wonderful job. I know we can be very hard on ourselves. Try to give yourself a break and remember all our children want is to love and be loved.
I would love to hear some of your parenting tips in the comments below. I love to learn from other parents. I really think we can all help each other.